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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    2022-23 Penn Schedule Breakdown

    Penn Head Coach Roger Reina (right) and assistant coach Mark Hall (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    Yesterday, a second Ivy League school released its 2022-23 schedule. Two weeks ago, it was Princeton; Wednesday it was Penn. The Quakers sport a preseason dual ranking of #16 and have ten returning national qualifiers on their roster. With continually improving results on the recruiting front, combined with an RTC that has exploded in growth, we can only guess that Penn will keep moving up the national rankings.

    The 2022-23 Quaker schedule features a great variety of competition, from teams inside and outside of the conference, in dual and tournament formats.

    Before we get to Penn's schedule breakout, associate head coach, Bryan Pearsall had this to say about the schedule itself:

    "Our goal with the competition schedule is always to best prepare our wrestlers for the EIWA and NCAA Championships. We focus on creating a schedule that will lead to as many as possible qualifying for the NCAA's and earning seeds, in the process, that will position them to earn All-American status. There is a lot to consider within the qualification process and strength of schedule is a main one. The year's schedule is definitely a step up in difficulty from previous years. With 10 NCAA qualifiers returning next year, who were all top-six in the conference, we feel the time is right to step it up as we continue to climb the mountain."

    Duals versus 8 teams in InterMat's summer dual rankings :(#2 Iowa, #5 Cornell, #10 Wisconsin, #19 North Carolina, #21 Lehigh, #24 Princeton, #26 Rutgers, #30 Stanford)

    One ACC Team: North Carolina

    Three Big Ten Teams: Iowa, Rutgers, Wisconsin

    One Pac-12 Team: Stanford

    Two other teams from Pennsylvania: Drexel and Lehigh

    Teams that finished in the top 30 at the 2022 NCAA Championships: (8) #3 Iowa, #7 Cornell, #14 Wisconsin, #15 Princeton, #18 North Carolina, #19 Stanford, #20 Rutgers, #25 Lehigh

    Home Slate: American, Army West Point, Brown, Harvard, Lehigh, North Carolina, Princeton

    Away: Columbia, Cornell, Drexel, Iowa, Stanford

    Neutral Site: Rutgers, Wisconsin

    November 13th - Journeymen Collegiate Classic @ Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

    This should be a good season-opening event for the Quakers. They will be involved in the first day of action, which consists of individual pool action. Wrestlers will only have a couple of bouts on the day; however, they will find strong competition.

    November 20th - Keystone Classic

    A staple of Penn wrestling is the Keystone Classic in mid-to-late November. There are some mainstays that traditionally visit the Palestra for this event and will return. Some include Appalachian State, Duke, F&M, George Mason, Harvard, Rider, and Sacred Heart. A new face is the #15 ranked tournament team, Virginia Tech. Additionally, Appalachian State and Harvard have some big guns that put them in the top 30 in a tournament format, too.

    November 26th - #2 Iowa @ Iowa City, Iowa

    Here's the big one! Penn won't sit around and fatten up on turkey this Thanksgiving, they'll be traveling to meet national contender Iowa, two days after the holiday. A battle between two squads with the majority of their lineups ranked could yield great matches at many weights, but we'll single out 133 and 141 as two to watch. We've never seen #14 Cullan Schriever as the full-time starter for the Hawkeyes, but suspect he'll be an All-American threat. It'll be a good barometer as Schriever faces the returning EIWA champion, Michael Colaiocco. A match later, two returning All-Americans could clash as Penn's #4 CJ Composto is slated to meet #2 Real Woods. The two met in the 2022 NCAA consolations and Woods dominated with a 16-0 tech fall. Aside from the 133/141 lbers, Iowa also features two-time Hodge Trophy winner Spencer Lee (125), NCAA finalist Jacob Warner (197), and multiple-time AA Tony Cassioppi (285).

    December 4th - Garden State Grapple (Rutgers, Wisconsin) @ Newark, New Jersey

    Just about a week after taking on Iowa, Penn has another pair of Big Ten opponents on the ledger. Rutgers has ranked wrestlers at seven of the ten weight classes and should present a challenge for Penn, those the Quakers outrank Rutgers by ten spots. At 125 lbs, Ryan Miller and Rutgers' Dylan Shawver should be a close contest. The two met at the MatMen Open and Miller prevailed in sudden victory. At the event, the two likely starters at 149 lbs, Anthony Artalona and Rutgers' Anthony White, did battle. Again, it was a close one, won by the Penn wrestler.

    The Badger lineup featured past All-Americans at half of the ten weight classes. Some of the top matchups include 133 lbs with Colaiocco and Greco-Roman star Taylor LaMont. A 2021 All-American, LaMont has made seven age-group world teams. At 149, two-time NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Artalona, takes on Big Ten champion Austin Gomez, in what is sure to be a fireworks-filled match.

    December 9th - Army West Point

    The first EIWA contest of the season comes as Army West Point travels south for a dual. One of the headlining bouts of this dual takes place at 157 lbs between #10 Doug Zapf and #28 Nathan Lukez of Army. Last season, Zapf fell to Lukez's teammate Markus Hartman at the EIWA Championships, despite a disparity in their ranking. Another EIWA rematch takes place at 174 lbs, with #18 Nick Incontrera of Penn and #20 Ben Pasiuk. This time it was the Quaker who got his hand raised after a fall. While Army is unranked, they've recruited extremely well, compete hard, and should make for a tight dual.

    December 29/30th - Midlands Championships @ Evanston, Illinois

    This Midlands is always one of the best regular season bracketed tournaments in the country and this year should be no exception. There will be plenty of Big Ten and midwestern teams in attendance to challenge the Quakers.

    January 6th - Franklin & Marshall Open @ Lancaster, Pennsylvania

    With a dual against #19 North Carolina looming a day later, we may not see the entire starting lineup for the Quakers in Lancaster. While it's difficult to forecast entries at open tournaments, looking at last year's tournament, we could see wrestlers from Army, Virginia, Navy Prep, Lock Haven, Columbia, Brown, and North Carolina.

    January 7th - #19 North Carolina

    Speaking of the Tar Heels, UNC will visit Philly for a top-20 dual with Penn. 141 lbs should be an excellent matchup between the All-American Composto and freshman Lachlan McNeil. McNeil is a member of the Canadian Senior team and should improve upon his #21 ranking by the time of this match. Two prominent Florida natives are set to square off at 149 with Artalona and 2021 All-American Zach Sherman. 157 also has an intriguing match with Zapf and #7 Austin O'Connor.

    January 15th - #30 Stanford @ Palo Alto, California

    This could be the beginning of a fun rivalry as Stanford will be led by second-year head coach, Rob Koll, formerly an Ivy League rival at Cornell. At 125 lbs, Miller could face Nico Provo, who has been extremely impressive competing unattached and in freestyle. Once again, Artalona has another high-profile opponent. He'll have 2021 All-American #10 Jaden Abas. Stanford also features 2021 NCAA champion and two-time finalist #2 Shane Griffith at 165 lbs. That should make for a difficult day for #21 Lucas Revano.

    January 20th - #21 Lehigh

    Traditional EIWA opponents rekindle their rivalry in Philly as Lehigh comes in. We could see a preview of the conference final at 157 lbs between Zapf and #9 Josh Humphreys. The two met twice in the regular season and split matches. Humphreys ended up third in the league and Zapf was fifth. Lehigh was the recipient of a pair of high-profile transfers in the upperweights. One of which, 2021 All-American #8 Michael Beard, matches up with #23 Cole Urbas. 125 could be intriguing as well, with whoever Lehigh sends out. #23 Jaret Lane had his moments last year, but ended up injured down the stretch.

    January 22nd - Columbia @ New York, New York

    Penn's first Ivy League dual comes against an up-and-coming Columbia squad. The best match comes at 141 lbs as Composto takes on #11 Matt Kazimir. This was an EIWA finals matchup from 2022, a match won by Kazimir, though he did not place at nationals. The Lions also have former EIWA runner-up, Joe Manchio, at 125. A two-time national qualifier, Manchio met Miller twice last year, but fell on both occasions. The other veteran star for Columbia, #11 Josh Ogunsanya, is at 165 lbs. In his only 2021-22 meeting with Revano, Ogunsanya snuck by with a 3-2 decision.

    January 27th - Brown

    We'll have to wait and see to figure out what the 2022-23 Brown team looks like under first-year head coach Jordan Leen.

    January 28th - Harvard

    While Harvard still needs some building to compete in a dual with Penn, they do have some outstanding individuals. 2022 EIWA champion (at 165 lbs) #9 Phil Conigliaro could be challenged by #18 Incontrera. At heavyweight, Harvard is expected to have #5 Yaraslau Slavikouski back in the fold. Last year, he defeated two past/future AA's to make the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational finals. Slavikouski should clash with #19 Ben Goldin.

    February 5th - #5 Cornell @ Ithaca, New York

    Could this be the year that Penn surpasses traditional Ivy power, Cornell? The Big Red is expected to send out three returning All-Americans, one at 125/133 (Vito Arujau), another at 149 (Yianni Diakomihalis), and 184 lbs (Jonathan Loew). They should be significant favorites against Penn at each weight. The most evenly contested match could be at 174 lbs with Incontrera and #11 Chris Foca. Foca won 4-2 in dual competition, but had to default due to injury at the EIWA Championships.

    February 10th - #24 Princeton

    If Penn could get by Cornell, they'd still have to contend with Princeton, a team that boasts a pair of returning NCAA finalists. Pat Glory at 125 and Quincy Monday, likely at 165. If Monday moves up, as expected, he'll have a new Quaker opponent in Revano. The final two bouts could be some of the best of this dual with Urbas and #15. At heavyweight, Goldin has #24 Matthew Cover. Stout took both of their 2021-22 matches, while Goldin owns a pair of wins over Cover.

    February 12th - Drexel @ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    One of the most prestigious trophies in college wrestling will be on the line as neighbors Penn and Drexel do battle, hoping for possession of the Cheesesteak Trophy. Drexel has a returning EIWA champion at 174 win Mickey O'Malley. During the regular season, Incontrera was pinned twice by O'Malley. The familiarity between the two must have caught up at the EIWA meet as, O'Malley needed tiebreakers to prevail. Drexel's other 2022 qualifier, #25 Evan Barczak, had three close matches with Revano, so another is probably in the works here.

    February 19th - American

    Penn's Senior Day opponent is American. The Eagles did not have any national qualifiers in 2022, but should be much improved this year. Their best grappler was Jack Maida, who finished fourth in the EIWA at 133 lbs. He and Colaiocco did not meet in 2021-22; however, Maida did defeat his backup, Blair Orr, 5-2.

    March 4/5th - EIWA Championships @ Home

    The Quakers will get the opportunity to host the 2023 EIWA Championships. Getting sleep in their own beds and warm-up in familiar surroundings, should only benefit Penn as they look to capture a conference title, in what will likely be a tight team race between Cornell, Princeton, and Lehigh.

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